“We All Have A Role To Play In Creating Equity Through Opportunity” – Mahreen Rashid.
WashingtonExec announced its finalists for the 2020 Pinnacle Awards on Oct. 8. Excella’s Mahreen Rashid was selected as a HR Executive of the Year (Small Company) finalist. Leading up to the event, WashingtonExec interviews finalists to learn more about key achievements, future focus areas and overcoming career struggles.
Continue reading to learn more about Mahreen.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
My time at Excella has been a rewarding journey. In many ways, my journey has paralleled with the growth of Excella. In recent years, Excella graduated from a small to mid-size business. With Excella’s growth and expansion, there have been numerous opportunities to create solutions aligned to a future vision of the workforce and workplace. I am proud to be part of this organizational transformation and an organization that constantly pushes itself to have best-in-class people-programs that enable exceptional careers and a highly engaged workforce.
I would have stopped there, however, 2020 has brought unique challenges with COVID and the renewed focus on racial injustice. I am even more proud now to be part of an organization that is working hard to provide our employees with stability and a clear path forward, while also investing the time and energy in continuing the difficult conversations around racial injustice. Excella wants to improve not only the Excellian experience, but our impact on the community.
We are exploring new community partnerships focused on racial inequality and further investing in these partnerships with a focus on minority recruitment and advancing access to careers in tech. As a company that has long invested in inclusion, diversity and equity education and initiatives, this year showed clearly there is room to do more, and I am proud to be part of the solution.
What key achievements did you have in 2019/2020?
The last two years have involved a significant amount of change at Excella for our leadership model and employee programs. We saw a need to continue to develop and mature our people programs to align to the growth of the business. We wanted to focus on retaining our top performers, creating opportunities for future leaders and ensuring all employees could envision their long-term career trajectory with Excella.
In 2019 alone, we moved from a partnership model to a C-Suite executive model, created a new VP level, redesigned our performance management system to be more agile, refreshed career paths for all leadership roles and established a robust workforce planning program that ensures data driven decisions are at the center of workforce-related efforts.
As we enter the end of 2020, we are continuing to refresh and revise career paths, rolled out a new employee engagement and performance management tool and established a new committee to support our increased focus on ID&E.
What are your primary focuses going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
Our clients have grown to expect that we are bringing a strong team of technologists to every engagement. Therefore, recruiting has always been an area of significant investment and pride for us. We continue to focus on this area with renewed efforts to ensure we have a diverse applicant pool, from our intern programs to our leadership positions.
As we watch the trends of 2020, we know women have been exiting the workforce at an alarming rate due to the significant pressures of households. We also know that communities of color have been hit hard, from higher infection and morbidity rates, to higher unemployment levels. Although employment opportunities for technologists have generally remained high, we know that entry-level employees may have less of a safety net.
All of these factors and more may affect our applicant pool. We are working to identify potential barriers that we haven’t seen before, create channels to screen and support candidates in ways that create more equity and limit potential reductions in diversity within our applicant pool. In addition, we are standing up a program that partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help bridge the gap between “graduate” and “effective employee.”
This is not only good for Excella, as we strongly believe diversity is essential to provide the most innovative solutions to our clients, but it is also good for the nation as a whole. We all have a role to play in creating equity through opportunity.
As we tackle this issue, our parallel goal will be to ensure we maintain a workforce culture that retains employees from all backgrounds with the same level of engagement. Our goal is to be a leader among technology companies, not only in recruiting, but also in retaining a highly diverse and inclusive workforce.